“But Momma, I’m tired!”
“I know, sweetheart, but we have to go. I need you to run.”
Sasha was running through the forest, trying desperately to keep her hand held in her mother’s. Her little four-year-old legs were having a hard time keeping up.
“Elsie, this way.”
Sasha turned to see her father to the right, beckoning them to come to him. Her mother scooped Sasha up in her arms and held her close as she ran toward her husband.
“Are they following us?”
“They said they’d give us until the morning to get off the pack lands. We should reach the south border in an hour if we shift. I’ll carry Sasha.”
Sasha was lifted onto her father’s back once he had shifted into his wolf, and she held tightly onto his fur as her parents raced against the sun to the south border. She drifted off to sleep, unaware of just how much her life was going to change.
“Miss Lovett, I need those papers in here now!”
“Yes, coming!” I hollered as I ran from my desk. This man was infuriating at best, and it took every ounce of restraint we had for my wolf not to rip his throat out daily.
Mr. Bettany was a short, stout human with a loud attitude and little respect for his employees or anyone else.
“About time…” He scowled as he snatched the papers from my hands.
I wanted to quit, to really stick it to this jerk that I was done with the verbal abuse and that he needed me more than I needed him. But that was a lie. I needed this job.
I had no one else to take care of me and nowhere else to go.
“I’m sorry for the wait, Mr. Bettany. Is there anything else you need?”
“No,” he grumbled, shooing me away with his hand.
I sat down at my desk and let out a deep breath before running my hands through my long blonde hair.
“Are you sure we can’t kill him?”
I laughed quietly at the comment from my wolf, Raya. “If only,” I mumbled.
If I was being honest, I knew I shouldn’t complain. This wasn’t even the worst job I’d ever had. Working as a janitor at a spa was definitely at the top of the list. Humans are super disgusting.
I was always on the lookout for another job though. One that would offer more stability and security, maybe a pay raise.
It would be nice to be able to afford a better apartment. Or even basic things like some new clothes and yummy food.
Rolling my eyes, I stood from my desk and made my way into Mr. Bettany’s office, making sure I plastered on the fake service smile I had perfected. “Yes, Mr. Bettany?”
“I have a meeting at nine tomorrow morning. You will set up the conference room and make sure everything is perfect. Here are the details.”
I took the file from Mr. Bettany and, with a “yes, sir,” made my way back to my desk.
I knew a meeting first thing in the morning meant I would have to come in early to set up the room—something I wasn’t looking forward to. Mr. Bettany wasn’t exactly known for paying overtime willingly.
I decided to make things as easy for myself as possible, making all of the necessary copies and booklets for the meeting now, so all I’d have to do tomorrow was bring in the coffee cart and place the files on the table.
I looked up at the clock a few hours later to see that it was almost five.
“Thank goodness…,” I mumbled, grabbing my coat and purse before knocking on the door of my boss’s office. “Anything else you need today, Mr. Bettany?”
“No. You can go.”
“Good night, sir,” I offered with a smile before exiting the office and making my way to the elevator.
Once the doors closed, I exhaled and leaned against the rail. “I need to go for a run.”
“Oh gosh, please!! It’s been ages!”Raya cried.
I laughed. “We just went on Tuesday.”
“Two days between runs is longer than it should be.”
I rolled my eyes. “Fine. But no rolling in mud this time. Do you know how awkward it was to walk back into the apartment building like that?” I could feel Raya chuckle at the memory.
Being a rogue meant I didn’t have the luxury of running on protected lands. I had to settle for a half-hour drive to the nearest state park and hope nobody saw me.
It also meant I couldn’t go as often as I would like. Thankfully, going to the gym took some of the edge off. I made it to my apartment and changed into something comfortable before checking my phone on my way out.
No new messages. “Pity…,” I mumbled. I’d been hoping someone had answered one of my hundreds of applications. “Guess I really do have to go back to work tomorrow.”
After driving the half hour to the state park and stripping off my clothes, I shifted, feeling the freedom and release of the shift.
Raya gave a playful growl before we raced off into the woods. We ran for hours, chasing random wildlife and splashing in a creek, before making our way back to the car.
I shifted back, my breath ragged from the run as I got dressed and drove home.
After showering the remains of my run off my body, I threw myself on the bed, a relaxed sigh escaping my lips. Running was such a high but calming all at once. I wished I could go more often.
“Maybe when we find our mate we will get to go whenever we want,”Raya said hopefully, hearing my thoughts.
“I don’t think that’s ever going to happen,” I replied as I drifted off to sleep.
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